Major Papers Record Healthy November Ad Results

It could have been disastrous in comparison to strong 2002 ad results, but November proved to be kind to the newspaper industry.

Newspapers didn't see the same level of political spending as it did in November 2002. It also continued to suffer from poor help-wanted advertising. And general-market retail advertising fell off the map in many areas of the country, as traditionally strong newspaper advertisers found themselves in a pitched battle with discount retailers. But November was slightly positive for publicly traded newspaper companies, according to an analysis of revenue data by the MediaDailyNews.

Ten publicly traded newspaper companies saw their advertising revenues rise 3 percent to $1.296 billion in November compared to the same period a year ago. The newspaper industry was helped by an extra Sunday in the month - and Sundays are key days for newspaper advertising, particularly shopping inserts.

A MediaDailyNews analysis found that in the 11 months reported so far in 2003, the newspaper industry had been able to sustain a 3 percent gain in overall ad revenues, to $13.17 billion. With the exception of Knight Ridder, every other publicly traded newspaper company saw increases in advertising revenues from low- to high single digits in November and year-to-date. Knight-Ridder advertising revenues were down 1 percent in November 2003 and flat year-to-date.

Retail revenues were up 2 percent in November, though that number may be misleading because not all companies report data. National ad revenues rose 6 percent and classified, which as been dragged down since 2001 by poor help-wanted showings, rose 4 percent nonetheless.

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